FRANKFURT Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2009 fell 1.3 percent to 31.3 billion tonnes in the first year-on-year decline in this decade, German renewable energy institute IWR said on Friday.
The Muenster-based institute, which advises German ministries, cited the global economic crisis and rising investments in renewable energies for the fall in emissions.
Global investment in renewable installations for power, heat and fuels last year rose to 125 billion euros ($161 billion) from 120 billion in 2008, IWR said.
But IWR director Norbert Allnoch said given the force of the crisis, the reductions in CO2 output could have been greater, had stronger output in Asian and Middle Eastern countries not overcompensated the savings obtained from declines in Europe, Russia, Japan and the U.S.
"The energy-induced CO2 output in China in 2009 due to its economic growth has grown to a level now that is as high as that of the U.S. and Russia combined," he said.
China in 2009 was in top position with 7.43 billion tonnes after 6.81 billion in 2008, followed by the U.S. with 5.95 billion (6.37 billion 2008). Russia was in third position, just before India, and followed by Japan.
Global investments in solar and wind power were helped by lower equipment costs as the crisis led to price cuts, IWR said.
But it reiterated its earlier suggestions that, in order to put brakes on the rising fossil fuels usage and to stabilize global CO2, it recommends that global annual spending on renewables be quadrupled to 500 billion euros ($644.2 billion).
Global CO2 emissions are still 37 percent above those in 1990, the basis year for the Kyoto Climate Protocol.
(Editing by James Jukwey)